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GOC welcomes draft Law Commissions Bill

2 Apr 2014

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The General Optical Council (GOC) has today welcomed the UK Law Commissions’ draft Bill on the regulation of health and social care professions. The GOC hopes the Government will introduce the Bill to Parliament later this year.

The Bill is intended to replace the laws covering the UK’s nine healthcare regulators – including the Opticians Act – with a single piece of legislation covering all healthcare regulators.

Gareth Hadley, GOC Chair, said: “We welcome the publication today of the draft Bill, which is designed to help all UK healthcare regulators to protect the public by handling complaints in a more streamlined and efficient way.

“The Francis Inquiry has made it clear that all regulators having fast and effective FTP processes is crucial for patient safety. The draft Bill, if implemented, will help all regulators cut the time it takes to resolve cases.

“Our new Fitness to Practise Rules, which came into force yesterday, will help us to reduce the time we take to deal with complaints. On top of this though, the proposals in this draft Bill would enable us to do even more to protect patients.

“The proposals will also give us more flexibility to adapt how we carry out our functions in response to changes in public expectations and developments in the optical sector.”

The GOC also hopes the Bill will be a step towards introducing a level playing field for optical businesses. It would enable the GOC to ensure that all businesses carrying out restricted functions, such as testing sight, are required to register.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Danny Langley
Communications Officer
General Optical Council
t: 020 7307 3473
e: dlangley@optical.org

Notes to editors

1. The draft Bill, published today, is available along with more information about the review at http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/publications/Healthcare-professions.htm

2. The GOC, along with the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council, wrote an open letter in the Sunday Times on 30 March 2014 in support of the draft Bill.

About the General Optical Council:
The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, performance and conduct amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 26,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

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